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UMNS Weekly Digest - October 12, 2012


NOTE: This is a digest of news features provided by United Methodist Communications for Oct. 9 - 15. It includes summaries of United Methodist News Service stories, blogs, UMTV video reports and additional briefs from around the United Methodist connection. Full versions of the stories with photographs and related features can be found at

News Stories:


Hispanic church offers model of growth

ELGIN, Ill. (UMNS) - Some 130 parishioners are praising Jesus with wide smiles on their faces, many with their hands raised to heaven, like Pastor Ruben Rivera, a lay missioner. This is La Luz de Cristo, a new Hispanic/Latino faith community that has grown from 12 worshippers in two years.

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Spiritual resources for veterans, families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - The United Methodist Church offers many spiritual resources for veterans and their families that can be used year-round as well as Nov. 11, Veterans Day.

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20 ways to reach out on Veterans Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Nov. 11 is a month away and now is the perfect time for congregations to engage in ministry with veterans, active troops and the families left behind as the United States recognizes Veterans Day. Here are 20 ideas about how to do that.

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United Methodists fight malaria in Angola

LUANDA, Angola (UMNS) - Residents of Bom Jesus, Angola, are receiving 9,000 insecticide-treated mosquito nets to help protect them from malaria in a distribution that began Oct. 12. The nets are delivered house-to-house by community educators, a delegation of United Methodists from the United States and the West Angola United Methodist Church.

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Camp provides hope for Liberian refugees

BUDUBURAM, Ghana-"The most listened to woman on radio in North America" is using her big voice to speak for voiceless children and adults living in a Liberian refugee camp.

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Rust College builds a better community

HOLLY SPRINGS, Miss. (UMNS) - About a decade ago, Rust College saw a need for housing revitalization in its city of Holly Springs. Leaders at Rust - the oldest of United Methodism's 11 historically black colleges and universities - wanted to transform the area into a vibrant, self-sustaining community.

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Yohanna elected bishop of Nigeria

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (UMNS) - The Rev. John Wesley Yohanna of the Mungo Dosso area in Nigeria has been elected a United Methodist bishop by delegates of the West Africa Central Conference. Yohanna, 49, succeeds Bishop Arthur Kulah, who was recalled from retirement about five years ago to lead Nigeria Episcopal Area.

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Gordon, St. Luke "Community", conference sued again

DALLAS (UMNS) - The Dallas Morning News reports that two more men have filed suits against Tyrone Gordon, the former senior pastor at St. Luke "Community" United Methodist Church, St. Luke and the North Texas Annual (regional) Conference of the United Methodist Church. Earlier this year two former St. Luke employees, who also were church members, sued Gordon, charging he made unwanted sexual advances. Gordon surrendered his United Methodist clergy credentials in February.

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Indiana church fills a meal void

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (UMNS) - A change in the school calendar prompted members of an Indianapolis-area church to help feed students who otherwise may go hungry during a new two-week fall break, reports. The Fish and Loaves ministry at Calvary United Methodist Church has worked to collect food to make up two meals a day for 10 children during the break spanning Oct. 15-26.

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Boatloads of food for Detroit food bank

WEST BLOOMFIELD HILLS, Mich. (UMNS) - Members of the West Bloomfield Hills United Methodist Church collected boatloads of food to donate to Gleaners Community Food Bank in Detroit, reports the Detroit Free Press. The West Bloomfield church is one of 82 metro United Methodist churches participating in Hands 4 Detroit, an Oct. 6 event that received support from Rethink Church.

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10-Fold features United Methodist missions

NEW YORK (UMNS) - 10-Fold, webcasts about United Methodist projects around the world supported by the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and the United Methodist Committee on Relief, will feature mission initiatives next week. Each visitor can trigger a $1 donation from sponsors to the week's project by clicking on the BE COUNTED button.

Watch webcasts

United Methodist up for top CNN 'hero' award

BOCA RATON, Fla. (UMNS) - Connie Siskowski, a member of First United Methodist Church, knows the struggles of kids caring for kids or adult relatives, writes Susan Green of the Florida Annual (regional) Conference. That's why Siskowski founded the American Association of Caregiving Youth. Her work has made her one of 10 CNN Heroes of 2012. A public vote conducted through email and Facebook will determine the Hero of the Year, who will receive a $250,000 prize to continue the work.

Read more and learn what you can do to support Siskowski

Adrian prof still winning on 'Jeopardy!'

ADRIAN, Mich. (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Adrian College is watching its own Stephanie Jass advance in "Jeopardy!" - the popular TV game show. Jass has won $66,770 in three days. The college community is rooting for its "hometown hero" and history professor during viewing parties in the campus center. Jass told the Milan News-Leader that the experience has been for her a "dream come true."

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More about Adrian College

Fire hits Malawi United Methodist farm

MCHINJI, Malawi (UMNS) - United Methodists throughout the connection were trying Oct. 11 to get more information about a fire that is believed to have done significant damage to the Malawi United Methodist farm and the surrounding village of Mchinji. A blog post of the United Methodist-related Wandikweza ministry was the first alert to the fire. Herb Mather, In Mission Together Malawi partnership coordinator, said there was no loss of life or damage to the house and truck.

Stay up to the minute with UMCOR

NEW YORK (UMNS) - Be in the know while you're on the go. The new UMCOR App for the denomination's relief agency is available free in iPhone, iPad and Android devices. With the UMCOR App, you can see the latest news, Hotline, blogs, Facebook posts, Tweets and even give to United Methodist Committee on Relief projects.

For more information

Theology of capitalism

BURKE, Va. (UMNS) - The entrepreneurs who represent the best of capitalism are very different from the money-changers who represent its worst, writes the Rev. Morgan Guyton, associate pastor of Burke United Methodist Church, in the Huffington Post. He challenges Christians to embrace a more entrepreneurial spirit while criticizing the darker side of capitalism.

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Mississippi needs teams for 50 sites

JACKSON, Miss. (UMNS) - The Mississippi Annual (regional) Conference disaster response coordinator says the conference is ready to receive early response teams for 50 sites in Jackson County with an additional 18 sites needing tarping, reports Amelia Fletcher, Alabama-West Florida Conference disaster response coordinator. The teams that deploy should review mold remediation and bring tools with those tasks in mind, she said.

For more information, contact the Rev. Wayne Napier at 228-216-2560 or

How to volunteer

Early responders help Louisiana; more needed

BATON ROUGE, La. (UMNS) - The heart and soul of The United Methodist Church is steeped in the Wesleyan tradition of doing good, and no one lives that better than the early response teams that have helped in Louisiana. However, more help still is needed.

Early response teams return to help.

How to help in Louisiana

First Thursday prayer and fast

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (UMNS) - First Thursday was introduced at the 2010 annual conference session by the Illinois Great Rivers Conference cabinet. It is as an invitation to clergy and laity to join the cabinet in a monthly day of prayer and fasting to call upon Christ to send the Pentecost power of the Holy Spirit upon the church. The practice continues.

Learn about First Thursday

NEXT to feature TED-style talks

ST. LOUIS (UMNS) - The launch team for NEXT, a United Methodist event for college students, is determined that the new gathering on Nov. 9-11 will be different from other United Methodist conferences. So the team has turned to the popular TED talks for inspiration. Instead of long speeches, participants at the conference will hear short, 12- to 15-minute talks from young adults who are involved in creative ministry, interfaith work, church planting and micro loans for students who have a social justice project. The United Methodist Board of Higher Education and Ministry, the United Methodist Board of Global Ministries and United Methodist Communications are among the event sponsors.

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To register and learn more

1in 5 U.S. adults have no religious ties

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - A report by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life shows a rise in the number of U.S. adults who claim no religious affiliation. In the last five years, the number of "unaffiliated" has risen from 15 percent of the population to 20 percent. Pew says the rise is mainly because of a generational shift, with 32 percent of adults younger than 30 saying they're religiously unaffiliated, compared with only 9 percent of those aged 65 and older. Conversely, for the first time, the number of respondents who identify as Protestant has dipped below 50 percent, continuing a decline in the Protestant population. The number of Catholic survey respondents remained a steady 22 percent.

Read the full report

'Nones' rising: What does it mean for us?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - A recent Pew survey showing a dip in the number of U.S. Protestants and a rise in the number of religiously affiliated offers some disheartening news for United Methodists. One finding: 88 percent of those answering "None" on the religion question also say that they are not "looking for a religion that would be right for" them. The Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards, director of worship resources at the United Methodist Board of Discipleship, examines the reasons behind these statistics and suggests how United Methodists should respond.

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Emory dental school confronts legacy of anti-Jewish bias

ATLANTA (UMNS) - United Methodist-related Emory University confronted a history of anti-Semitism in its past with the showing Oct. 10 of the university-commissioned documentary "From Silence to Recognition: Confronting Discrimination in Emory's Dental School History." From 1948 to 1961, Jewish students in Emory's dental school were failed or forced to repeat courses at a rate disproportionate to their numbers. At the public viewing of the film, the university explicitly stated its regret for this chapter in the dental school's history and for the long period during which it went unacknowledged.

Read Emory's story

Read New York Times story

Pastor's photos raise funds for water wells

MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. (UMNS) - The Rev. Rodney Steele, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Mountain Home, is using his passion for nature photography to support Water for Africa. All the profit from his photo sales goes to fresh water wells in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

See Steele's photos

Fire destroys Tenn. church building

MORRISON, Tenn. (UMNS) - Ivy Bluff United Methodist Church in the Tennessee Annual (regional) Conference burned to the ground the night of Oct. 7. "Please join them in prayer for healing and vision for the future," writes the Rev. LeNoir Culbertson, Murfreesboro (Tenn.) district superintendent.

United Methodist takes NCC education post

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The Rev. Joseph V. Crockett, a United Methodist elder and director of scholarly projects for the American Bible Society, has been named as head of education and leadership ministries for the National Council of Churches. He will continue to serve in both positions.

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Logan joins United Methodist Church Foundation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Rhodes Logan has joined the United Methodist Church Foundation as its new director of development and philanthropic initiatives. Logan comes to the foundation staff from the development office of the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Logan is a lay leader in his local United Methodist church in the Holston Annual (regional) Conference.

Learn more about the United Methodist Church Foundation

After evil rears its head

LITTLETON, Colo. (UMNS) - As youth struggle to process a tragic event, churches can become havens of physical, emotional and spiritual comfort as well as a place for youth to ask questions and open up, reports Interpreter Magazine. That's been especially true in the wake of the movie theater shooting in nearby Aurora.

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Pastor 'spreading hope' for teens

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (UMNS) - The Rev. Gary Nelson, who almost lost his own son to suicide, now travels extensively to talk about teen depression and suicide, reports the Charleston Daily Mail. Suicide is second only to automobile accidents in killing teens.

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This is Mental Illness Awareness Week

Lon Morris seeks to sell property

JACKSONVILLE, Texas (UMNS) - Lon Morris College, a United Methodist-related two-year school, is seeking a judge's permission to sell a "substantial amount" of its property after filing for bankruptcy earlier this year, the Tyler Morning Telegraph reports.

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Dan Terry story to air on ABC

NEW YORK (UMNS) - The story of United Methodist Dan Terry, who was among 10 humanitarian aid workers assassinated in Afghanistan in August 2010, will air between Oct. 21 and Dec. 16 on participating ABC stations. Produced by MennoMedia and students at Eastern Mennonite University, "Weaving Life: The Life and Death of Peacemaker Dan Terry," shows how Terry set out to build bridges where "everyone else was blowing them up," says production consultant and storyteller Jonathan Larson. "He spans the chasms of suspicion, religious hatred and outright warfare, with patient bonds of trust and openness."

Read more

Check local listings

Imagine No Malaria 'Days on the Hill'

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The United Methodist Board of Churchand Society and the denomination's Imagine No Malaria campaign will be host to the church's annual (regional) conference leaders for a "Days on the Hill" gathering Dec. 2-5. At the same time, Imagine No Malaria will celebrate delivery of its one-millionth net.

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Commentary: Response to open letter to liberal or progressive friends

WASHINGTON (UMNS) - The Methodist Federation for Social Action, an unofficial progressive caucus, responds to the Rev. A.W. Martin, a longtime caucus member, who urged fellow progressives to consider amicable separation from The United Methodist Church.

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Blog: The 'why' of Communion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS) - Whether we celebrate Communion in a park, in a bar or inside a church, we are not only remembering and recalling the life, death and Resurrection of Christ but we are also being re-membered. We are brought back again, writes Sophia Agtarap in a blog post on Communion.

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Category: Weekly Digest
Tags: News Summaries